It has been quite a strange couple of weeks. Everything was going seemingly very well, against a number of difficulties we had managed to find a small crew to plant our rice crop and convinced them to do it the SRI way, by now I have a bit of a reputation for doing things the difficult way and have been embraced as the village eccentric, hopefully in the future we will have some good results to show for all our stubbornness…
Then on July 30th I woke up with pain and stiffness in my legs and arms and a rising temperature, decided I would take it easy for the day, by the afternoon my temperature had risen to over 39C, where it stayed for the following eight days, with severe headaches, vomiting and other unpleasant side effects, only to disappear back to where it came from, leaving behind a quite debilitated body which is now in need of some proper rest, I still cannot walk very far from my bed…
So I’ve had time to think, cannot bear to watch TV and in the few days I spent at the hospital there was no internet, I loved it, must do it more often….. Here are a few moments of clear thinking over the last few days.
FOOD ISN’T WHAT IT USED TO BE.
I have never been a healthy eating type in principle, but even I know this, to anyone whose stomach is not screaming with hunger pains fruits and veggies now mostly taste of very little, every so often something tasty slips the net, some local vegetable that’s in season at the time produced by a rare committed grower. Mostly what we come across is poor quality food.
The only reason I know what food is supposed to taste like is because I still remember as a child going to the local grocer with my mum, picking up a couple of tomatoes, a kilo of potatoes and a lettuce head, and looking at the fruit trays to seek out what would be most delicious, maybe apricots, maybe peaches, knowing they would not be on the shelf long but as the season went on we would find grapes, figs, apples etc. Most people now might never know what a tomato is supposed to taste like.
So now I see that the delights of living in Mae Mut do not stop at not ever seeing a policeman or not having to spend six month drawing up plans if I think we need an outside toilet somewhere, waking up to the sounds of the birds and going to bed hoping the frogs will shut up eventually.
Even though we are constantly making lots of mistakes and are learning new things from a very low base, I can honestly say that all the vegetables and fruits we have grown at our place have been of at least good quality and some of the mangoes, papaya, pineapple and guava we routinely eat are of much higher quality than anything in the market. When in May the Karen boys from the hills bring freshly picked lychees I need nothing else, only ten months to go now….
I write this to express not how good I am as a grower at all, but to drive home the point of how poor food quality must be now that anyone with a piece of land and a spade can do better almost at the first attempt, in order to maximise production and therefore profit the victim will always be quality.